Today is a sad day for millions of blog subscribers around the world. July 1, 2013 marks the passing of Google Reader, a beloved RSS reader that, while was not exquisitely designed, offered a consistently solid experience. Back in March, Google announced it would be shutting the service down over what it claimed to be declining usage.
This upset a lot of users, including yours truly, but all great things must come to an end. While many saw the shut down of Reader as a bad thing, it’s actually been one of the greatest things to happen to RSS readers since the invention of RSS itself. This has led the way to people discovering Google Reader alternatives, many of which are even better!
Here are six services to help with the transition, and get your reading back to normal…
Feedly is hands down the best RSS reader currently available. Offering good speed with a simplistic design that can be adjusted to your liking (show thumbnails or list view), you shouldn’t have any trouble making the transition. One great thing about Feedly is its sharing options. Not only do you have one-click sharing to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, but also services like Buffer or Pocket.
Also, Feedly has an app for iOS and Android devices so you can stay up-to-date with the latest posts wherever you are.
If it’s been a while since you last heard about Digg, you’re not the only one. After going through changes, particularly a major redesign, the once popular social bookmarking site took a turn for the worst, barely functioning before being acquired by Betaworks in July 2012. Since then, new leadership has dramatically improved the site which is impressive to say the least.
Digg thought it could take a shot at other Google Reader alternatives out there, and it sure did. Digg Reader is very simple in design, fast, and easy to use. While not as robust as Feedly, the fact it ties into popular stories currently shared on Digg may be an enticing feature.
The Old Reader
There’s really not a whole lot to say about The Old Reader. It’s very reminiscent of Google Reader with a few design tweaks. You can follow other users and view their shares under “Shared”, and any posts you’ve liked will show under “Liked”.
AOL’s offering is still in the beta stage so you need an invite first, but like Digg’s, brings a very simple design to the table. Like Google Reader, you can star posts which will appear under “Starred”, and share posts directly to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. During the beta, users get 1000 hours for free. Sorry, the joke was too easy.
Newsvibe continues the trend of simplistic RSS readers, and its design is very similar to Digg Reader, or vice versa to more accurately put it. One feature I particularly like about Newsvibe is that you can hide the sidebar, giving you a full width view of all your feeds.
The shut down of Google Reader was another reminder that services don’t last forever. While all the other Google Reader alternatives mentioned in this post are hosted on their own respective sites, Tiny Tiny RSS is an RSS reader that you can host on your own server, ensuring that you never have to worry about such a fate.
It’s definitely for the more advanced user, and designed for individual, private use. The design won’t blow you away, but it’s functional, and that’s a good part of the battle. Do you still use an RSS reader? If so, what’s your favorite at the moment?
Mike Stenger is a writer with a love of all things technology.